It has long been recognized that the problems of motion artifacts in conventional time subtraction digital subtraction angiography (DSA) may be overcome using energy subtraction techniques. Of the variety of energy subtraction techniques investigated, non-k-edge dual-energy subtraction offers the best signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). However, this technique achieves only 55% of the temporal DSA SNR. Noise reduction techniques that average the noisier high-energy image produce various degrees of noise improvement while minimally affecting iodine contrast and resolution. A more significant improvement in dual-energy DSA iodine SNR, however, results when the correlated noise that exists in material specific images is appropriately cancelled. The correlated noise reduction (CNR) algorithm presented here follows directly from the dual-energy computed tomography work of Kalender who made explicit use of noise correlations in material specific images to reduce noise. The results are identical to those achieved using a linear version of the two-stage filtering process described by Macovski in which the selective image is filtered to reduce high-frequency noise and added to a weighted, high SNR, nonselective image which has been processed with a high-frequency bandpass filter. The dual-energy DSA CNR algorithm presented here combines selective tissue and iodine images to produce a significant increase in the iodine SNR while fully preserving iodine spatial resolution. Theoretical calculations predict a factor of 2-4 improvement in SNR compared to conventional dual-energy images. The improvement factor achieved is dependent upon the x-ray beam spectra and the size of blurring kernel used in the algorithm. In the limit of large blurring kernels, the noise-reduced dual-energy image has an iodine SNR approaching the maximum value achievable with a linear combination of the low- and high-energy images, with the additional advantage that low spatial frequency tissue signals are substantially reduced. Phantom measurements confirm the predicted increase in SNR of the CNR technique while images processed both by conventional dual-energy and CNR methods demonstrate the noise suppression of the CNR algorithm and the tissue edge artifacts which it may introduce.
- digital subtraction angiography
- dual-energy subtraction
- noise reduction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging